BY CALUM FRASER
Campaigners were “dancing with joy” after developers withdrew plans to build a cruise port which residents have been battling for years.
Finance giant Morgan Stanley, which owns the land around Enderby Wharf in Greenwich, withdrew its plans to build a cruise port after initial planning permission was granted by the council in 2011.
Residents have opposed the scheme, under the No Toxic Cruise Port (NCTP) campaign banner, saying it would cause terrible air pollution as the ships would sit on the bank of the Thames for days unable to turn off their engines and pumping fumes into the atmosphere.
Laura Eyers, NTCP co-founder, said: We are all absolutely dancing with joy now that confirmation has come through from Morgan Stanley that they are set to shelve the plans for the cruise terminal.
“People and families living on both sides of the river, in Greenwich and Tower Hamlets, will be heaving a sigh of relief now that they do not have to face the prospect of inhaling heavily polluted fumes from cruise ships moored at Enderby Wharf.
“It’s not only good news for local people but also for those who are fighting for cleaner air across London.” The NCTP campaigned on the grounds that Morgan Stanley should introduce onshore docking stations that would allow the cruise ships to turn off their engines.
A petition with thousands of signatures was delivered to the council and the group received backing from the likes of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and dozens of Greenwich councillors.
Ms Eyres, 54, said: “We thank all of our supporters and campaigners including everyone that signed our petition, helped with crowdfunding donations, supported us on social media and shouted so loud that we could no longer be ignored.
“It just goes to show what the community can achieve when it comes together and is supported by groups and parties on all sides, not to mention the local press who have played a massive part in helping us resuscitate this campaign when it had failed at the High Court and at the EU.
“We still have work to do, though. “This campaign has highlighted the lack of emissions controls on the Thames and we will carry on with our campaign to tackle the cruise ships that are already coming to the Port of London Authority’s pier in West Greenwich every summer.”
It looked like the scheme might be sunk in 2016 when an unnamed resident lodged a judicial review challenge in the European Court of Justice. But it was dismissed.
Residents were unfazed and rallied again, to launch the NTCP petition and lobbied the London Mayor’s office.
In a letter to Greenwich council’s director of regeneration Pippa Hack, Shamik Narotam head of UK Morgan Stanley real estate investing, said: “Creating a cruise terminal at Enderby was strongly supported by the previous leadership of the council and the former Mayor of London, as well as being a planning condition without which the original scheme would not have been granted.
“The council’s position on the desirability of the cruise terminal has clearly changed, as has the position of the Mayor’s office, following the concerns raised by the local community.
“As a result, we are discussing revised plans and proposals for the Enderby site that would no longer include a cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf.”